Category Archives: Announcements

Utopian Worlds: Participatory Online Exhibition Starts

In these days the online project “Utopian Worlds” starts! On the website and on Instagram under @utopian_worlds Silke Steets and Silke Guelker, two social scientists from Germany, collect and present ideas of a better world in photos and stories of people from all over the world. There are still only a few examples, but the site should grow quickly! The project is part of the 40th Congress of the German Sociological Association, which will take place in September in digital form.

The concept of utopia had no place in postmodern thinking for a long time. It is certainly no coincidence that it is being reconsidered in many different ways right now – in view of crises felt worldwide. The aim of the project is to reconstruct the ideas of “good” self-, world- and social relations contained in utopian world concepts – and thus to sound out the current potential of utopian thinking for social criticism.

The curators are counting on your support for this: the more diverse the contributions, the more meaningful the project can become. The site is currently available in French, German, English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, with further languages planned. I would be delighted if you would both participate in the collection yourself and invite your colleagues, family and friends – all information can be found at

A live digital presentation of the project will be given during the congress of the German Sociological Association on Tuesday, 15 September 2020 from 13.30 to 14.30. The complete programme of the congress can be found here:

Inform (Information Network on Religious Movements) update, August 2020

On 22 July Inform held its first Inform Seminar to take place online. This was on the subject of Sexual Abuse framed by Faith or Belief, and featured speakers from many different backgrounds and academic disciplines. Thank you to the many of you who took part; we had an attendance of 110! A recording can be seen here:

Inform have also recently reached the successful conclusion of a 5-year ERC-funded project (Ayuryog) on the relationships between Yoga, Ayurveda and Indian longevity practices. This project has resulted in a series of online resources relating to health, healing and immortality in minority religions. These are available here: .

The staff and governors of Inform have regular contributors to the Religion Media Centre’s briefings, and researchers associated with Inform have created a number of factsheets on subjects including the Order of the Nine Angles, Genesis II Church and its teachings on bleach-drinking, and how the Jehovah’s Witnesses have adapted to Covid-19 restrictions (

Inform is the only organisation in the UK that aims to provide wholly impartial, up-to-date and contextualised information on a huge variety of minority religious and non-religious movements, using the methods of the social sciences. If you agree that we provide an invaluable service, you may wish to become a Friend of Inform. When face-to-face events resume, this will entitle you to a discount of 10% on seminar attendance, and you would be helping to secure our future as a charity. Alternatively, you may wish to make a donation. Please go to for more information. 

Another alternative is to sign up to Amazon Smile, through which Inform receives 0.5% of every payment you make on Amazon, at no additional cost to you. There is no membership fee. To sign up, go to and key in “Smile”, or go directly to, then select “Information Network Focus on Religious Movements”. It’s really easy to do!

Finally, do email us at if you have questions about what we offer, or would like to report any interesting developments in new religious movements or the wider religious landscape. We are always pleased to hear from you.

 With best wishes,

The Inform team:

Dr Suzanne Newcombe

Dr Sarah Harvey

Silke Steidinger

Warwick Hawkins

the ICSOR GRANT 2020 winner

Immagine incorporata 1

Caro collega,
il vincitore dell’ICSOR GRANT 2020 è il professor Robert Woodberry, Baylor University, USA. Il tema di ricerca è “Religione e cambiamento sociale in due secoli: Mappatura delle attività della Chiesa cattolica dai documenti dell’Archivio Apostolico Vaticano & Propaganda Fide”.
La qualità delle domande è stata elevata e la selezione molto difficile.

Cordiali saluti.
Roberto Cipriani

Dear Colleague,

The ICSOR GRANT 2020 winner is Professor Robert Woodberry, Baylor University, USA. The research topic is ” Religion and Social Change over Two Centuries: Mapping the Activities of the Catholic Church from Documents in the Vatican Apostolic & Propaganda Fide Archives”.  The quality of applications has been high and the selection very difficult.

Best regards.
Roberto Cipriani

Postponement of the IV ISA Forum of Sociology to February 2021

As you have been informed recently, the Executive Committee of the ISA decided to postpone the IV ISA Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to February 23-27, 2021

We are aware that this postponement may be problematic for many of you. The size and speed of the Covid-19 outbreak gave us no other solution. We will redouble our energy and motivation to use these seven months delay to make this Forum a major and insightful meeting of the global sociological community in extraordinary times.

All the activities that have been prepared for the Forum will be maintained. This includes the regular session as much as the plenaries and the common sessions. We will however provide some flexibility to the RC that would like to adapt their program and, if they decide so, to allow their participants to update the title and abstracts of their contribution to the Forum. The abstract selected for the Forum in July 2020 remain thus valid for the Forum in February 2021.

Together with a new “early registration deadline”, we have set a new calendar that allows some flexibility to RCs that wish to update and re-open some of their panels to new participants to replace the colleagues who will not be able to join us in February and to take into account the questions and challenges raised by the Covid-19 outbreak, its social impact and the world that will come out of it.

15 September – 15 October 2020

  • The authors of abstracts selected for the ISA Forum will be invited to confirm their participation to the Forum before October 15th, 2020. They may update their abstract and title, in consultation with their session organizers or RC program coordinators.

15 October 2020 Final day to confirm participation by authors of the already accepted abstracts.

  • The abstracts that have not been not confirmed will be automatically removed from the program

16 – 25 October 2020 Publication of the calls for new abstracts proposals by the RC/WG/TG

26 October – 12 November 2020 Submission of new abstracts proposals via online platform

12 November 2020 Deadline for new abstract submissions

24 November 2020 Authors are notified about the acceptance or rejection of their abstracts
15 December2020 Presenters final registration deadline (early registration fees apply).

We are aware that postposing the Forum will require additional work for our RC program coordinators, presidents and boards, for the Local Organizing Committee and in particular for its president Hermilio Santos, and for the ISA Secretariat. We would like to thank each of them and ensure them we will be there to support them. On our side, have no doubt that we will use this delay to make this Forum an insightful space, to reinforce the existing panels and projects and to set up new ones, such as the “Sociological Movies section” for which a call will soon be published.

The CoVid outbreak is shaking our world in a way that no one expected and will have deep consequences on our world and the way we see it. The 2021 ISA Forum of Sociology will be a unique opportunity to learning from colleagues from all continents and sharing analyses of the crisis, its social impacts and the world that will emerge out of it with. We look very much forward to seeing all of you.

Sari Hanafi, President of the International Sociological Association

Geoffrey Pleyers, ISA Vice President for Research and President of the IV ISA Forum of Sociology

Association for the Sociology of Religion 2020 Conference Cancelled

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 ASR Annual Meeting in San Francisco has been cancelled. There remains great uncertainty around whether this global health crisis will be resolved by August. Some experts are predicting social distancing orders will last at least through the summer.  The American Sociological Association has cancelled its SF conference, and we do, too.

This news is very disappointing. Every year, we look forward to intellectually stimulating research and conversation, sharing teaching experiences, and navigating grant opportunities. I want to express my sincere gratitude to our current President, James Cavendish, and our Program Chair, Brian Starks, who have already put a lot of work into creating a conference theme, proposing joint sessions with the ASA, soliciting session proposals and abstract submissions, and fielding questions about the Annual Meeting. I also appreciate the time and effort that ASR’s Council has dedicated to helping us plan this conference.

If you already registered for this conference, we will be happy to refund your money in full. We would also be happy to accept your payment as a generous donation to the ASR. If you would like a refund for your registration fee, please email me.

Please stay safe and healthy, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.  


Rachel Kraus, PhD, MPA
ASR Executive Officer
Professor of Sociology
Ball State University

Free BSA sociology magazine

Socrel members who are not members of the British Sociological Association and therefore don’t receive their regular newsmagazine may enjoy their Spring Issue, which is being made freely available now through the link below. Lots of interesting articles, plus reflections on five indispensable sociology of religion books to take to your desert island.

I hope the link below stays live on this list-serve; any problems please get in touch.

FREE ACCESS TO THE LATEST ISSUE – Download the latest issue of Network (Spring 2020)

which includes the following:

  • Feature: The BSA has cancelled its three main conferences this year amid the pandemic.
  • Robert Dingwall, sociologist of law, is given award for his work.
  • Sociology may become more difficult after Brexit, says Dennis Smith.
  • Desert Island Discourse with Abby Day.

[NZASR] Cancellation of IAHR 2020 World Congress

Kia ora koutou

It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the 22nd World Congress of the IAHR which was to have been held in Otago, New Zealand.

Following our previous update on 10 March, we have continued to monitor the situation which (as we are sure you are all aware) has only become worse almost everywhere. Today, New Zealand has entered a period of total lockdown – no-one is permitted to leave their home except to fetch essential items of food and fuel, or for short walks in their neighbourhood. The borders are closed to all but New Zealand citizens, residents and their immediate family members.

The hope, of course, is that such a lockdown will eliminate the virus within New Zealand and allow a return to normal life. But there can be no certainty that this will succeed. Even (or perhaps especially) if New Zealand is successful in eliminating the virus here, there will continue to be tight restrictions on who can travel to New Zealand. It is already clear that we cannot possibly meet in August. We have considered a long postponement, but for many of us (including the local organisers) the first priority in the coming months will be providing teaching to our students in order to minimize the impact on their education. It is not at all clear even when we might begin to be able to plan with any certainty for a large international gathering in the near future. We have also considered also the possibility of holding a virtual Congress online, but New Zealand’s time zone and limited IT infrastructure means that we are not well-placed to do so.

We will contact separately those who have already registered for the Congress, to make arrangements to refund registration, accommodation and excursion fees paid in advance. In the current environment (everyone in New Zealand working from home) this may take a little while and we ask again for your patience.

The Executive Committee of the IAHR will make a further announcement about the consequences of the cancellation for the business meetings of the IAHR that would have been conducted in New Zealand.

We would like to extend our thanks to all those who submitted abstracts. We thank also the academic programme committee who reviewed the abstracts and to the many others who supported the Congress in different way, and in particular the officers of the IAHR Executive Committee. We look forward to meeting again in happier times!

Will Sweetman and Satoko Fujiwara
on behalf of the organising committee

The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) is Going Virtual

We are living through a public health emergency unprecedented in our lifetimes. This has thrown our inherent connection and the inequalities that fracture our societies into stark relief. It is changing many aspects of how we live and work and it will change the way that The Australian Sociological Association operates. 

TASA will be going virtual. Resources we put towards face-to-face activities will be redeployed towards virtual initiatives. Unfortunately, our 2020 TASA Conference scheduled for November at the ANU is postponed. We will announce a new date as soon as we can.
We will not be doing less this year, however. Hopefully we will be doing more. Many of us will need a moment to pause, to take in what is going on and adjust the way we live, including more time physically on our own or with family and the consequences that come with this.
As many have pointed out, this is a time when physical distancing is crucial but where we should remain as socially connected as we can. In the coming weeks we will announce how we will reshape our support for our members and for Thematic Group, Social Sciences Week and other TASA events.
Many of us need a moment to catch our breath but soon we will return to our sociology, whether concretely contributing to understanding the inherent social dimensions of the current crisis or the other important questions about how we live together that we will continue to pursue. We will need to work together to do this and TASA will facilitate it.
We will also need to laugh with each other and share experiences of the changes we face. So, we are also looking at how we keep the social dimension of TASA going in virtual platforms across the coming weeks and months.
At this stage I want to highlight

  • Our upcoming special section of Health Sociology Review on Sociology and the COVID-19 Pandemic, edited by Professor Deborah Lupton.
  • The first of our new lunch-time online seminars, Peta Cook on ‘Ageism and COVID-19’, April 23rd, 12:30pm – 1:30pm via Zoom: (will also be recorded and uploaded to TASA’s YouTube channel.)
  • Our Nexus blog is ready to receive your pandemic or non-pandemic related reflections. 
  • Our new all-member forum for your contributions on ‘Doing sociology in unsettled times’ 
  • We have also purchased a Zoom account that supports virtual events up to 100 participants. If you are a TASA member planning an event and would like to use this resource, please contact Sally Daly

We will announce other opportunities soon. 

Yours in sociology 

Dan Woodman (on behalf of the TASA Executive Committee) 

The 25th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion – Call for Papers deadline extended

The planning committee for The 25th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion is monitoring the situation and development for the Corona virus closely, and will be following all the recommendations concerning travel and public events given by Swedish authorities. We will accordingly take any measures needed and publish our decisions promptly on our website. However, we are presently continuing the preparation process and are hopeful that the conference will take place as planned.

We realize that some of you might be concerned whether you will be able to attend. In order to give you all time to thoroughly evaluate the situation, we will be extending the deadline for abstracts until April 15. We will also not be accepting any payments for the conference until May 11.

We will keep you all updated on our website.